The Bose QuietControl 30 are comfortable and versatile wireless headphones with a satisfying sound quality. They're decently portable and offer more control over their noise cancellation than any other Bose headphone reviewed so far. However, the noise canceling is not as strong, and although they're stable enough to run with the around-the-neck design won't be for everyone.
- Comfortable and stable earbud fit.
- Very low leakage.
- Above-average noise isolation.
- The neckband design won't be for everyone.
- Laggy when watching videos.
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The QuietControl 30 have a wireless, around-the-neck design that's not for everyone but feels comfortable and well-built. The StayHear+ tips and the neckband fit makes them quite stable to run with although they can sometimes get tangled in your clothing, especially, if you're wearing a lot of layers. They have an efficient control scheme that also gives control over the noise cancellation, but the power/Bluetooth button is a bit too stiff, which is slightly frustrating and decreases their ease-of-use. On the upside, they're decently portable and come with a sturdy case to carry them in.
The QuietComfort 30 have a relatively simple design that feels high-end. Thanks to the materials used in the build quality these headphones have a much more premium appeal than of the other around-the-neck designs. They come in an understated all-black color scheme that won't particularly stand out, which is ideal for some but feels a bit bland.
The QC 30 like the SoundSport wireless have the comfortable Bose StayHear+ tips that fit snugly within the ear canal. They're comfortable headphones to wear for extended periods of time without experiencing the fatigue that some other in-ear/earbuds may cause. However, the neckband fit won't be for everyone.
The QuietComfort 30 have a good control scheme, but the buttons are a bit stiff and difficult to press. They provide the common functionalities like call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls but also two additional buttons on the side of the in-line remote to increase or decrease the level of noise canceling. Unfortunately, although slightly better than that on the Soundsport Wireless, the inline remote is covered by a thick rubber-like material that makes the buttons a bit difficult to press especially the power/Bluetooth sync switch.
The QC 30 have stability tips of different sizes to provide a stable fit within the ear. That combined with the neckband makes them quite stable to run or exercise with. However, the cables that connect the neckband and the earbuds can sometimes get caught on an item of clothing, but that doesn't happen often enough to be of concern.
These headphones do not take too much space, especially, when not in the case as the total surface area they occupy is relatively small. However, due to their somewhat odd shape, they won't fit into all pockets but should easily fit into most bags. They're also quite easy to carry on your person if you just let them dangle from your neck.
Comes with a good, hard case that will easily shield the headphones against falls, scratches and minor water damage. It adds a bit of bulk to the overall design and won't fit into most pockets but can be carried around in a bag with relative ease.
The QuietComfort 30 feel well built. The plastic used for the headband and the earbuds feels dense yet sufficiently lightweight, that they won't get damaged if they were to fall from about neck height. However, the cables although thicker than most in-ear headphones we've reviewed feels like the main weak point of the build quality. They could snap if pulled on a bit too forcefully which could happen if they get caught off an item of clothing.
The QuietControl 30 have a well-balanced audio reproduction and can consistently deliver a good amount of bass thanks to their decent seal and ergonomic design. They have a nearly flawless Mid Range reproduction, and the Treble Range will also be satisfying to most people. On the downside, they don't have much Soundstage and won't be the most immersive headphones for critical listening.
Very good Bass Range performance. The overall response is quite flat and balanced. The general 1.5dB of overemphasis in Bass is very subtle and won't deviate much from neutral.
Very good Mid Range performance. Low-mid and Mid are virtually flat. High-mid shows about 3dB of overemphasis compared to Mid, pushing the main body of vocals slightly back in the mix, and bringing the higher parts of vocals/instruments to the front.
Good Treble Range performance. Low-treble is very slightly elevated, which is the continuation of the High-mid bump. In Treble, there is a 5dB dip around 8KHz, negatively affecting the reproduction of sibilant sounds (S and T).
Excellent performance consistency. Due to their stable and ergonomic design, if you are able to position the QC30s properly, there should be very little variance in frequency response between re-seats.
Poor Soundstage. Due to their good noise-cancelling, the openness score is low, as these headphones tend to isolate the listener from their environment. Additionally, due to the earbuds' design and lack of interaction with the pinna, the PRTF score is also low resulting in a relatively closed-up Soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the listener's head.
Average Imaging. There is significant phase shift happening, especially throughout the Mid and Treble Ranges. This could skew the clarity and transparency of the sound. On the other hand, the driver matching of our test unit was very good.
Good harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of THD is slightly elevated, but there is very little distortion in the Bass Range and there's not a significant rise in THD under heavier loads either.
The QuietComfort 30 like the QuietComfort 20 barely leak at high volumes. This and the above-average noise cancellation makes them a great option if you don't want to distract your colleagues at the office. They also deliver enough isolation to be versatile commuting and traveling headphones, although the isolation is not as good as some of the other models in the Bose line-up.
Above average isolation. The QC30 performs well in Bass and Mid Ranges by achieving more than 17dB of isolation. In the Treble Range they approach 30dB of isolation which is slightly better than average. Their self-noise is also minimal and on par with other well-performing ANC headphones.
Excellent leakage. The overall level of the leakage on these earbuds is very low, barely reaching significant levels. Additionally, the main portion of the leakage is between 4KHz and 9KHz which is a narrow range.
- 100% SpNR
The QC30 have a good set of active features. They deliver a decent wireless connection that's a bit laggy when watching movies but has enough range for most use cases. They support NFC for easy pairing with mobile devices and have a decent battery life with an adjustable auto-off timer accessible through the Bose connect app. The app also gives you a bit more control over the noise cancellation but still feels featureless when compared to some other headphone apps.
The QuietControl 30 have a decent wireless range in direct line-of-sight and when the Bluetooth source was obstructed. They won't be the farthest reaching headphones, but they should be OK to use around your house and in the office. They're also relatively easy to pair with mobile devices that support NFC and connects immediately to the last synced device when powering on. However, the Bluetooth/power button is unusually stiff to press and hold, so if you don't have NFC, the pairing procedure could be frustrating. Also, they have quite a bit of latency, which is fine for music but very noticeable when watching videos.
The QuietControl have a fair battery life of 11.4 hours when playing audio continuously at average volumes. They also have an auto-off timer accessible through the Bose Connect app that allows them to conserve a decent amount of power. They take about 2.5 hours to fully charge, which is about average but cannot be used once plugged into a power outlet.
The Bose Connect app is unfortunately not as robust as that of the competition. However, for the QC30 there is an additional noise canceling slider that allows you to control the level of isolation directly from the app. This makes this version of the app a bit more useful but due to the toggles on the inline remote to control the level of isolation you may not even need to use that feature. Other than that it's the same as the QC35 or the SoundLink which means you get a basic media player but a good and flexible auto-off timer.
In the box
- Bose QuiControl Wireless Headphones
- Earbud tips (x3)
- USB charging cable
- Carrying case